Family Reunion

Family Reunion

“The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea I have a goodly heritage.”  Psalm 16:6

Marci was our family historian. She gave most of her life to family research and picture and story collecting.  She threw the first family reunion I ever attended, and I am blessed beyond measure to have met her.  Prior to this, I had dabbled just a little bit in family history on my dad’s side of the family, which gave me just enough of a deep appreciation for the mammoth errand that it is.  As soon as Marci discovered my interest in family history, she took a liking to me right away.  She hoped, I realize, that I would take the reigns from her aging and used up hands and continue her labors, but oh my, family history is a daunting pursuit that can get way out of hand way fast.  It is sprawling, riddled with rabbit holes, and soon begs to be your only passtime.  It will consume your life if you are not paying attention.

Marci gave most of her adult life to excavating the roots of my mom’s side of the family and hers truly are some hefty boots to fill.  I feel like a child just to stand next to them, and a bumbling toddler to even rub my hands along the soles of those well worn mukluks.  Grasping the laces and slipping my feet inside, it feels amazing just to have my toes linger down a path into the well worn soles where her feet have left furrows, but once inside, I’m swallowed up to my eyeballs.  I lug one foot and drag the other with a little bit of researching here and there, and confess I have failed miserably to tow her beloved vade mecum along very far.

Her reunion will also forever outshine anything I could ever pull off, although she is close to my heart whenever I make the effort.  Our family doesn’t get together yearly, as some families do, and it’s not a huge affair when we do, but it has luckily been important to the small group of us who stay in touch, and I am soooo blessed that we have “not forsaken the assembling of ourselves, as the manner of some is; but that we exhort one another: and so much the more, as we see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

1. Three Reunions

First Things

The first thing you will want to consider when planning a family reunion is location, location, location.  I thought it important to try to CHOOSE A LOCATION that was central to all travelers, or that best accommodated the elders at least, who may not be in the best of health and unable to travel very far.  You may also want to consider a location that is steeped in family history (museums, cemeteries, county buildings for public records, and libraries).

Choose a location that is as all inclusive as possible for attendees of various means.  Look for something that offers, for example, tent camping, RV spaces, cabins, and a lodge or nearby motels/hotels so that all your guests, with their varying needs and budgets, can all be close by.  Also, do your homework and research these campgrounds thoroughly.  I love for this.  Read the reviews to make sure you will be happy there, and know what to expect.

Choose a location that is near to a variety of activities for young and old: river or lake for fishing and water recreation, swimming pool, mountains for hiking and nature outings, a city for amusement parks and shopping, or a town where your ancestors lived where history can be explored, photographed, and researched further by the group.  Let the local courthouse and museum know your group will be in town, and ask if there are any local historians who may be available for questions or to give a presentation.

Choose 3 or 4 days that include a weekend, for those who are limited by their work schedules.

Choose a location that has plenty of outdoor shelters with grills, along with open spaces for group games and activities.  Look for a place that has a banquet facility where you can prepare and host a meal, play games like Bingo, watch home movies, do crafts, exchange photographs, etc.

Look also for a place that has food options nearby, such as a convenience store, grocery store, deli, ice cream shop, restaurants, etc. as some people may be traveling a great distance and be unable to pack an ice chest of food.

NOTE: If Wyoming/Montana/South Dakota is central to your needs, I can personally recommend Thermopolis, WY; Palmer Gulch Resort in the Black Hills of South Dakota near Hill City; and Kirkwood Resort on the banks of Hebgen Lake, near West Yellowstone, MT.  Of these three Palmer Gulch was my personal favorite because it offered every sleeping option from tents to lodge rooms, had a hot tub, swimming pools, bike rentals, horseback riding, daily activities (such as cowboy poetry reading, comedy shows, dances, movies, and theatre performances), daily guided bus tours to Mount Rushmore, a nightly fish fry and morning pancake breakfast at the main shelter, areas for pitching horseshoes, playing volleyball/baseball/Frisbee/Bocce Ball/etc., a pond for fishing, sprawling grounds for walking and hiking and “night games,” plus a cowboy church service on Sundays. They also had a grocery store, gift shop, ice cream parlor, and deli on the grounds.

3. Reunion scrapbook

Little Details

For our latest family reunion I sat up a Private, Closed-Group Facebook page and invited all the family to join it.  It sure made it easier for posting maps and schedules and plans and links, and getting immediate feedback in the planning process.  You can make your Facebook group “secret” so that it is by invitation only and not available at all to the public, and you can make yourself the only administrator who can send or accept requests to join.  I think this is a good way to go as most people on the planet have a Facebook account these days and check it regularly.  Plus it costs nothing.  All members can share photographs there too, and any other information they wish.

Make reservations for horseback riding or bus tours of nearby attractions or whatever else is offered by your campground as soon as you arrive.  Most places won’t let you reserve an activity until you are an official guest on site, and then they are usually at least 24 hours out on the schedule. If you wait until your group has a wild hair to do some of these activities you might be out of luck.

Plan for a meet-and-greet just before the first night’s supper at a specific shelter or location. Ask guests to bring photo albums and family history books that they may have written.  Make sure to have name tags for everyone.  Take group pictures and walk around and take individual pictures of guests as they mingle and visit.  Those photos will be invaluable later as they will have everyone’s names to go with their faces.

Bingo/Raffle/Silent Auction:  Months before the reunion, you might want to ask your guests to bring either white elephant items or keepsake handmade items such as quilts, aprons, jewelry, etc., also family portraits, antiques, books they’ve written, scrapbooks of old family photographs, old family cookbooks, etc. and give these treasures as prizes.

Movies:  Prepare a video or slide show that can be shown one evening, with clips from past reunions, interviews with family  members, mix in short segments of old family movies, maybe add some scenic tours of family trails, etc. to show to the group.  Be sure to serve popcorn and other snacks and keep it semi-short, light, and entertaining.

2. Mystery Dinner


The following is a sample of our Palmer Gulch Resort reunion schedule.  It is just a rough draft  example that may help you plan your time in whatever location  you choose.

Family Reunion Schedule


Afternoon       Arrival for some – check-in

(NOTE: make reservations for trail ride tomorrow -10AM)

6:00 p.m.         Dinner – pot luck, (Aunt Dixie is bringing a brisket to share), or those who wish to can get subway subs, chips, and drinks


6:30 a.m.         Morning walk/jog (meet at Colleen’s Lodge room patio)

7:30 a.m.         Devotions (& coffee) at a site found Thursday evening – check with Colleen

9:00 a.m.         Breakfast (either the pancake breakfast, espresso bar/bakery/restaurant/or pot luck at camp where the elders RV’s are parked.)

Morning          Arrival for others – check-in

Noon               Lunch on our own (Subway, Restaurant, etc.)

2:00 p.m.         Tour the grounds of Palmer Gulch (either walking or renting bicycles) so that we can see where everyone’s rooms/cabins/camp spots are located, and see where all the resort amenities are located.

4:30 p.m.         Pot Luck Dinner (bring your own meat to *grill and a salad or side dish to share)      *The resort is allowing gas grills only!

-or- we can attend the Palmer Gulch Fish Fry at 5 pm (all-you-can-eat Alaskan Pollack for $7.50/plate)

After Dinner   Option #1  Palmer Gulch Nightly Entertainment

The schedule for tonight is:

5 pm                Hay Ride

6 & 8 pm         Movie

8 pm                Hill City Slickers performing at the stage

Option #2  Family Games:

Ladies and youngin’s – Mexican Train Dominoes or Bunco

Men – Guy’s ONLY Poker  (OR pile in a car and go to Deadwood for the evening (Colleen will baby-sit)

10:30 p.m.       Nightcap:  Options: glass of wine or beer, cup of hot herbal tea, devotion/prayer, or a nice soak hot tub/sauna before turning-in for the night.


6:30 a.m.         Morning walk/jog (let’s decide Friday night where to meet)

7:30 a.m.         Devotions (& coffee) meet at same place as yesterday

9:00 a.m.         Pancake Breakfast ($2 per person at the cook tent)

10:00 a.m.       Options:  Trail Ride, Hike, Fishing pond (license required)

12:00 noon      Lunch (pot luck – everybody bring something to share)

1:30 p.m.         Water fun:  Swimming/waterslide or paddleboat rental

3:00 p.m.         Family Softball game   -or-   Horseshoes (also basketball, volleyball, mini-golf available)

4:30 p.m.         The Hill Girls will be serving a *MYSTERY DINNER at Kamping Kitchen

After dinner:  Everybody put their reunion t-shirts on and gather under the Palmer Gulch sign for a group photo.

After that…

Option #1  Palmer Gulch Nightly Entertainment

The schedule for tonight is:

5 pm                Hay Ride

6 & 8 pm         Movie

6:30 pm           Cowboy poet

8 pm                A Cappella Group, performing at the stage

Option #2  Family Games:


Liar’s Dice

9:00 p.m.         Roast Marshmallows, sing, tell stories and visit around campfire

10:30 p.m.       Nightcap: Options: glass of wine or beer, cup of hot herbal tea, devotion/prayer, star gazing, or a nice soak in hot tub/sauna before turning-in for the night.


8:00 a.m.         Potluck breakfast (coffee, rolls, fruit, bacon, eggs, breakfast tacos, etc.)

9:00 a.m.         Cowboy Worship Services at Palmer Gulch stage area



Anyone interested in making scrapbooks of our family history?  Do you have some old photographs that you know others would appreciate having (the really old ones)?  Dig out those old photos and bring them along as well as a scrapbook kit, some glue sticks, and the fancy edge scissors to the reunion.  We’ll meet Sunday at 10:30 AM to knock some fancy pages together and get our own keepsakes started for those who are interested.  Anyone who would like a scan of your scrapbook page, or copies of your old photos can write their name down and pay you for them at our scrapbook gathering.  If you would like to bring along some extra copies of your old photos to share with others, that will be very nice of you.  If you have old photos and you’re not sure who those folks even are, bring them along and lets ask the elders!

Sightseeing (for those who would like to see some sights before heading home):

  • A ride on the 1880 Train Ride is 5 miles away
  • Rapid City: Maze Craze or Evans Plunge Water Park
  • Deadwood: Gambling, or Gulches of Fun, or Rodeo (July 23-28)
  • Spearfish:  Hills Alive Concert or Passion Play

*MYSTERY DINNER  (Appeared on the schedule for Saturday at 4:30PM)  This is a 4-course meal.  Each course has 4 items (or three items). Click here for instructions.


The following are some of the activities I planned for our Thermopolis reunion:

NOTE: in Thermopoilis were hotels that were near the mineral swimming pools, and a KOA campground on basically each end of town that had a play area for the kids.  When I did my research it looked like our group would be happiest with the one at the Wind River Canyon end of town, so that is where most of our campers stayed, and there were motels nearby, although the favorite hotels are by the pools on the other end of town (which is only a short 10-minute drive).  Thermopolis had several good dining options around town for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a large grassy, tree-shaded park area near the swimming pools for picnics and play.  Thermopolis also has several walking paths that meander around the hot springs.  And there is a golf course and bowling alley.

Matt & MikeGolf Tournament
– 3-person Scramble.  Arrange the tee time for this (based upon those who sign up for it on the family reunion Facebook page, by a set deadline) with the local golf course.  Right after breakfast on the second morning of the reunion would be a great time.  Players who are able will bring their own clubs, others will rent or share (borrow).  Teams can be decided the morning of the event.  Each player pays their own green fees, cart rentals, a $10 gratuity towards the prize fund, and extra $$$ for any side wagers.  Divide players or teams so that they each start at a different hole and commence with a shotgun start.  Collect score cards from players at the clubhouse as each team finishes and post their scores on a poster board.  Everyone will hang out, eat, drink, shoot the bull, until all players have finished.  Arrange for someone to go around and take lots of pictures of the players on the course and in the clubhouse.  Award trophies/prizes and winnings to the teams that finish in the top three at the conclusion of the tournament.

Bowling w JanMoonlight /Dutch-Doubles Bowling Tournament.  You can play Moonlight Monte Carlo AND Dutch Doubles Tournament together, or just Dutch Doubles, without the silly between games stuff .

Reserve the bowling alley for 4 hours one evening (6-10PM).  Ask the bowling alley staff to dim or turn off all the lights except for the ones at the end of the lanes where the pins are.

Everyone must pay for their own games (3 sets) plus shoe rentals.  Ask them to also bring $6 each for the tournament prize fund, and $3 each for side pots.  If they want food or drinks they must purchase those on their own as well.

How to play Dutch Doubles: Divide all guests into boy/girl pairs, and have each pair give themselves a name (Gutterbums, Strokers, Pin-Ball Wizards, Dueling Duos, Strike Force, Crank Yankers, Ball Busters, Holy Terrors, Buttercups, etc.).  Depending upon the size of your group and the size of the bowling alley, place 2 or 3 pairs on each lane.

The boys of each pair will roll the first ball of each frame of the first game, and the girls of each pair will pick up the spares.  If a strike is thrown the spare shooter doesn’t get to bowl that frame.

The second game the girls roll the first ball of each frame of the game, and the boys pick up the spares.

The third game is player’s choice.  Players may switch partners, it can be girl with girl or boy with boy or just a different boy or girl, or keep the same pair, and decide between yourselves who will roll the first ball and who will roll the spares for the last game.

How to Play Moonlight Monte Carlo:  As players arrive collect everyone’s tournament money and issue each player a ticket number (you will need two copies of this number, one for the player and one for the hat). Divide the Tournament Fund money in half.  Put half in an envelope marked A and half in an envelope marked B.  Then divide each A & B envelope into 4 littler envelopes marked 1, 2, 3, & 4.  Place the duplicate ticket numbers in a hat or bowl.

Before the first game starts, ask everyone to contribute $1 to the first game side pot.  Someone needs to keep a list of each person who pays a dollar to the pot.

Bowl the first game!

After the first game has been played and all lanes are finished, award the side pot money to the pair with the highest score who contributed to the pot.

Now it’s time for the silly between-games-GAMES – the Monte Carlo part…

Pull a number from the hat.  Whatever player has that number must take their ball, go to lane one, roll their bowling ball down the lane and try to…

Knock down only the 10-pin

If they accomplish this they win envelope #1 from Envelope A.  If not, another number is drawn, the pins are reset, and the new player attempts the same shot.  If they accomplish it they win, if not another number is called.  If no one accomplishes it after the 3rd attempt another challenge is offered.

A new number is drawn and this player must…

Get a strike

If they get it they win the prize money.  If they leave pins, another number is drawn and that player must come and pick up the spare.  If they pick it up, the two split the prize.  If not, neither gets the prize and another number is drawn to accomplish the same task.  If after three attempts no one has won the money another challenge is offered.

Draw two numbers from the hat.  These two players must take their balls and…

Throw them “granny style” (using both hands and squatting at the line)

Whoever gets the most pins wins the prize.

If there are still prize envelopes in Envelope A, offer another challenge, such as two dueling bowlers throwing the bowling ball left handed on side-by-side lanes and the most pins wins the prize. Or require the bowlers to roll a split.  Or go back to the Strike/Spare challenge until the prizes from Envelope A have been awarded.

Bowl the Second Game

Make sure to start a new side pot for the second game and record each person who contributes $1.  Proceed with the second game, this time the girls roll first and the boys pick up the spares. As soon as everyone has finished with the second game, award the side pot money to the pair with the most strikes who contributed to the pot.

Once everyone has finished with the second game, conduct the silly Monte Carlo GAMES and award the prize monies from Envelope B, as outlined above.

Bowl the Third Game

Start a new side pot for the third game and record each person who contributes $1.  Proceed with the last game, player’s choice.  Award the side pot money to the pair with the most spits, if there is a tie; the tie-breaker goes to the pair with the lowest score.

As players finish the last game, they should turn in their rental shoes and pay for their games at the desk.

These are some of the activities that were available to us at Hebgen lake:

The Kirkwood Resort offered cabins and camping sites for RV and tents.  It also had a little grocery store, and was right nearby to Hebgen Lake.  One of our family members brought their boat and provided plenty of fun for all ages, from a little bit of fishing, to waterskiing, to just boating around.  There was a waterhole spot with a rope swing where the kids spent hours playing.  We found a nice area and put up a volleyball net and played beach volleyball for an entire evening one night.  We did a lot of pot luck meals, but also did drive into West Yellowstone one day and shopped and ate and explored the cute little town.  It was a beautiful place!

Here are some suggestions for split-group activities

Kid Activities: If your kids are anything like ours they will all be restless after a while and want to go exploring with their cousins, whom they haven’t seen in a while.  Make sure there is a means of communication (walkie-talkies, cell phones, or a chaperone equipped with such if the kids are younger) so that the adults can know the kids are being watched and are safe, and can be rounded up for the next meal or group activity.  Hopefully your location will have a swimming pool where the older kids can play, and a playground or wading pool where the younger ones can climb and run or splash.  Prearrange for a babysitting team of two teenagers in the family who will responsibly supervise the little ones during playtime, and pay them!  And make sure the older kids stay together and keep track of each other, and check in with the adults from time to time.

Adult Activities:

The men may want to find a fishing hole, golf course, shooting range, or some other man things to do.  For instance, my cousin, on our first family reunion, brought along his potato gun and entertained the guys for hours shooting the thing off (we were on a ranch in the country).  Some people brought kites and flew them.  Others just wanted to sit around and shoot the bull.

The women may want to do a craft, or put together scrapbooks, or play cards, or cook something, or just sit and visit.  Some may want to do some shopping at a nearby boutique, antiques store, yard sales, or take a walk.

Daily big group game:  Everyone can meet back at a designated shelter or location for a family baseball game, flag football game, Frisbee, horseshoes, volleyball, or a scavenger hunt, etc.  (See more options below).

Other Reunion Pastimes. Ask guests to bring their favorite party games:

Generations by Genealogy for Fun, Inc. (1986)

Reminiscing, the Game for People Over Thirty and Those They Let Play

Song Burst (50’s-60’s or 70’s-80’s) by Hersch & Co. (1992)

Redneck Life

The Horse Race Game

Liar’s Dice

Loaded Questions by All Things Equal, Inc, 2003

Mexican Train Dominoes by Fundex Games, Ltd., 2002

Farkel by Legendary Games, Inc.

LCR dice game (play with quarters instead of chips, winner takes the pot)

Cards (like Canasta or Pinochle)

Apples to Apples by Out of the Box Publishing, Inc.

Pictionary by Pictionary, Inc.1985

Bunco by Talicor, Inc., 1999

Scene It by Mattel Games, Mattel, Inc. (need a tv or laptop to play)

Smarty Party by R & R Games, Inc.

Boxers or Briefs by Parker Brothers, 2005

Snorta by Out of the Box Publishing, 2004-2006

Wits & Wagers by North Star Games, 2005

Other Activities:

Scavenger Hunt

These are always fun, but require a little bit of planning.  You can purchase a ready made hunt, or make your own.  Here are some I found online that are perfect for outdoor fun.  (Camping Scavenger Hunt) (Nature Scavenger Hunt) (Pinterest – nature scavenger hunts) (Pinterest – Camping Scavenger Hunts).  And this one costs $6 but is a really  neat idea – Fun Family Scavenger Hunt.

Go Geocaching

For information on this activity visit the geocaching website at  You’ll need a GPS, preferably a hand-held, or just a Smart Phone and app these days, and a free membership to

Roast marshmallows and make SMORES, and here’s a fun idea for creative SMORES:



Sing  – does anyone play harmonica, ukulele, or guitar?

Tell ghost stories… make up your own, or read from a book (Take Along Book: Spooky Campfire Stories, edited by Amy Kelly, 2000, Falcon Press, Guilford, CT). I got mine at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Tell Family stories about the good old days, or tales about crazy “Aunt                             Martha” … around a campfire/bonfire

Set up a museum table with picture albums of old family pictures, or past reunions that people can peruse at their leisure.  Leave pens and sticky notes and envelopes out so that people who want a copy of a picture on that table can put their name and address on a sticky note and adhere it to the photo, additionally they can tuck a few dollars into an envelope which they also write their name and address on, so the owner of the pictures doesn’t go broke making copies and shipping off pictures.

My uncle brought his old photo albums as well as all his old pictures and left them out on a table for people to look at.  Those pictures stirred up many conversations and were a keeper idea.  People with cell phones can take pictures of the pictures they want copies of.

Morning and/or evening Bible devotions – try Our Daily Bread; or any of dozens of others that are out there.

Morning or evening walks, exercises, or yoga

Have T-shirts made: Palmer Gulch in South Dakota had a t-shirt service that they offered.  We collected t-shirt orders and the money, and turned it in to them by Friday morning.  They had the t-shirts made and delivered to us by the next day.  We all wore our shirts and had a group picture taken under the campground sign.  The sign had our name on it.  You could also have shirts made up ahead of time to take to the reunion and pass out to everyone.  You could even make them yourself on your computer (iron-on transfers) to save money.

Bingo or Raffle: My husband’s family always raffles off quilts (handmade during the past year by the grandmas of the family) at their annual reunions.   Talk about a treasure!  The hosts of those reunions also asks guests to bring several prize donations for Bingo.  These range from inexpensive gift items like lotions, soaps, candles, picture frames, gift cards (video rental stores, book stores, restaurants), phone cards, golf balls, bowling towels, candy bars, photo albums, stationery, fountain pens; to even bigger items that winners could trade up for; or they might be “White Elephants” that you have laying around the house and have been itching to get rid of.  You can rent a Bingo set (balls, cage, microphone, light board, etc.) from a party store.

Obstacle Course race:  Remember in the movie, Mr. Mom?  Perhaps this dates me? Anyway…where the boss has all the employees and their families over for a summer party, and there is the big “Men’s Race” that Michael Keaton almost wins?  Yeah… something along those lines would be fun.   The kids can have sack and three-legged races, swing at water balloon piñatas, and play hide-and-go-seek.

Night games, like Flash Light Tag, Hide-and-Seek in the dark, Sardines, Manhunt, Ding Dong Dash, Kick the Can, Capture the Flag, and  Ditch’em.

Checkers Tournament (for the kids).  Get a few of those big rug checkers games from Cracker Barrel Country Store, or make your own with a roll-up checkerboard mat and painted stones.

Rubber Band Gun Shooting Tournament (for the kids).  Buy or make several rubber band guns and collect all empty beer and pop cans.  Set the cans up on a fence railing and let the kids have a shooting contest with each other.

Lawn Games:  Croquet, Bocce, Jarts/Fling Sock, Horse Shoes, Bad mitten, Volleyball, flag football, Softball, Frisbee, Frisbee Golf, etc. if you have access to a big open grass-covered field.  (See Game Rules at the end of this chapter).

Go sightseeing as a group. Go on a reconnoitering expedition to a nearby town, or landmark.   This is a good way to get one meal out of the way too… go out to eat while you’re there!

Visit a local museum, cemetery, County records building, or library where family history is housed.  Choose a reunion site near some old family stomping grounds.  Find old newspaper articles with family history stories in them.  Seek out an old homestead, school, cemetery, or place of employment of an ancestor.  Perhaps a local historian would be available to speak at your gathering.

Take loads of pictures!!!!!



These were some of the hits from our reunions

Cowboy Caviar


1 14-oz. can black eyed peas – drained

1 14-oz. can white corn – drained

1 bunch green onions, chopped

2 avocados – cubed

4 tomatoes – diced

1 clove garlic – minced

1 to 2 fresh Jalapeños– diced

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp. Cumin

¾ tsp. Salt

1/8 tsp. Pepper

1/8 tsp. Cayenne powder (or Tabasco sauce)

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl.  Cover and allow flavors to meld for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Outstanding!


Espresso Spread:

4 oz. Cream cheese, cut into slices

1 Tbsp. Sugar

½ tsp. Instant coffee granules

½ tsp. Vanilla extract

¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips


2 cups All-purpose flour

¾ cup sugar

2 ½ tsp. Baking powder

1 tsp. Ground cinnamon

½ tsp. Salt

1 cup Milk

2 Tbsp. Instant coffee granules

½ cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

¾ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a food processor or blender, combine spread ingredients; cover and process until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.  In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In another bowl, stir milk and coffee granules until the coffee is dissolved.  Add butter, egg and vanilla; mix well.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.  Bake at 375°F for 17-20 minutes or until muffins test done.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.  Serve with espresso spread.  Yield: about 14 muffins (1 cup spread).


Hot sauce:

¾ c. sugar

½ c. oil

½ c. vinegar

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Pepper

Heat sauce until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to boiling for 15 seconds.  Pour into pint-sized Mason jar and let cool.  (Note: will keep in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks).


1 16-oz. Can drained French cut green beans

2 12-oz. Cans White shoe peg corn

1 8-oz. Can English or petite green Peas

1 small jar sliced pimento

1 diced green pepper

1 diced red onion

1 cup celery – diced

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour cooled sauce over and mix.  Cover and refrigerate until time to serve, even overnight.




8 oz. Uncooked spinach fettuccine

2 cups sliced ham or salami strips

4 oz. Sliced provolone cheese, cut into thin strips

½ red bell pepper, cut into strips

½ yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

2 ¼ oz. Can sliced ripe olives, drained


½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

3 Tbsp. Grated parmesan cheese

1 to 2 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. Lemon juice

½ tsp. Marjoram leaves

¼ tsp. salt

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook Fettuccine to desired doneness, as directed on package.  Drain; rinse with cold water.  In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients; toss gently.  In small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; mix well.  Pour dressing over salad; mix gently.  Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight to blend flavors.  Just before serving, sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese.



2 lb. Pkg. frozen hash browns, thawed

1 and ½ sticks butter, melted

1 c. chopped onion

½ c. chopped celery

1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

8 oz. carton sour cream

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

2 c. corn flakes, crushed

Garlic salt to taste

Combine potatoes, 1 stick of melted butter, onions, soup, sour cream, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl.  Spread in a greased 2 ½ quart casserole dish or 11” X 7” oblong pan.  Stir ½ stick of melted butter into the crushed corn flakes and sprinkle on top of potatoes.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Jalapeno Poppers


Large jalapeño, cut in half, with seeds and stems removed (2 poppers per person)

Cream Cheese at room temperature

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Thin bacon

Mix equal parts cream cheese and cheddar cheese in a large bowl.  One block of cream cheese will fill approximately 12 jalapeños.  Put about a tablespoon cream cheese filling into each jalapeno half and then wrap with a strip of bacon making sure to completely cover filling.  Bacon should stay in place, but you may also anchor it with a toothpick if desired.  Once all jalapeños are filled and wrapped they can be baked in a 350 degree oven, or grilled on the BBQ grill, turning frequently so that bacon cooks evenly on all sides.  Bake or grill until bacon is fully cooked.  Serve.  Variations: Add ¼ cup minced onion to the cream cheese mixture, and/or press a small shrimp (deveined, tail-off) into filling before wrapping with bacon.  I have also just sprinkled bacon bits on top of cream cheese instead of wrapping them with bacon, then bake (or grill) them filling side up until cheese is melted.



Red sauce:

1 cup onion, diced

1/3 c. salad oil

1 c. brown sugar

1 ½ c. catsup

½ c. lemon juice

¼  c. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. salt

4 drops Tabasco

Simmer all ingredients in heavy saucepan for about 20 minutes.  Good on brisket and ribs.

For the Brisket:

Look for a nice Bar-B-Q Texas Style beef brisket in the meat counter.  Brown meat, fat side up, in a 400 degree oven for about an hour or so.  Meat can be salted and peppered for this, if desired.  Turn the oven down to 250 degrees.  Pour half the red sauce over the meat and cook for about 2 – 3 hours, or until desired tenderness.  Cool and slice thin.  Add the rest of the sauce and heat when ready to eat.



4 cups Rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp. Salt

Splash of lemon

Toss these ingredients together and pour out into 11” X 9” buttered glass baking dish.

Crunch topping:

2 cups flour

1 cup oatmeal

½ cup finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans as preferred)

1 tsp. Ground cinnamon

1 cup butter, melted

Combine crunch ingredients and toss in bowl until thoroughly moistened and crumbly.  Break big clumps into small ones as you scatter the topping over the rhubarb.  Completely cover the rhubarb.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for approx. 1 hr.






BASIC “Backyard” RULES

“The required court layout for a game is two stakes fastened securely in the ground 40 feet apart. The stakes should be of iron or soft steel one inch in diameter protruding 15 inches from the ground, each leaning approximately 3 inches (12-degrees from vertical) toward the opposite stake.

Each stake is placed in the center of a “pit” measuring between 43 and 72 inches long and measuring between 31 and 36 inches wide. Moist blue clay works best as a cushion substance in the pit but other types of moist clay as well as loose dirt and sand are acceptable. On both sides of the pits are long, narrow (approx 6′ long and 18″ wide)”pitchers platforms” from which contestants are to pitch their shoes. When platforms are extended an additional 10 ft they can accommodate short distance pitchers and when extended full length on both sides of the court they provide walkways for the contestants.

The object of the game is to pitch the horseshoe so that it comes to rest encircling the stake; failing in that, it comes to rest within six inches of the stake.

“Horseshoes” manufactured for pitching (real horseshoes are not readily available or uniform in size and weight) are to be used, each weighing approximately 2-1/2 pounds and having an opening no greater than 3-1/2″. Each contestant pitches two shoes in succession.

When a contestant is pitching, the opponent shall quietly stand to the rear of or behind the other platform.

A contestant cannot start to walk to the opposite end until both players have pitched both shoes.

A shoe making contact outside the pit before it comes to rest does not count in the scoring and if it lays within scoring distance of the stake it may be removed before the next pitch by either contestant.

Foul lines shall be marked at 27 feet and 37 feet from the opposite stake across the pitching platforms. Shoes pitched by adult males must be released from the platform behind the 37-foot foul line. Shoes pitched by “elder” men, age 70 or more, may optionally be pitched from platforms behind either the 37 foot or 27 foot foul line (provided that they remain at one pitching distance and not switch back and forth) and provided that as 27 foot pitchers, they cannot pitch from behind the 37 foot foul line. Women and all youths up thru 18 years of age may pitch from any platform at any distance from behind the 27-foot foul lines. Men with physical handicap may also observe the 27-foot foul line rule.

Multiple court installations should have safety barriers or buffers to protect contestants on adjacent courts and spectators.

Scoring Rules – There are two methods of scoring: (1) Cancellation system, and (2) count-all system.

Cancellation System – Closest shoe to the stake within 6 inches scores 1 point, two shoes closer than opponent’s scores 2 points, one ringer and closest shoe of the same player scores 4 points, and each uncancelled ringer scores 3 points. All equal ringers count as ties (no score). All ringers count towards total ringer percentages. A leaning shoe has no value over one lying flat touching the stake. The player that scores or ties a score receives first pitch. Most cancellation games are played to 40 points. Other point limits are acceptable if agreed upon beforehand. It is also legal to play to a pre-set shoe limit, with 40 or 50 shoes being the most popular. Ringer averages are a measure of skill and are used for “seeding” contestants in tournament play. Ringer averages are calculated by dividing total ringers pitched by total shoes pitched and multiplying the result by 100. (i.e. 25 R div by 50 S = .500 x 100 = 50.00%)

Count-All Scoring – Contestants shall receive credit for all points. The maximum is 2 ringers (6 points) and the minimum is both shoes beyond 6 inches from the stake (0 points). Count-all games are pitched to a preset shoe limit – 20, 40 or 50 shoes are popular choices.

Three Handed Game

No longer shown in NHPA Playing rules, the three-handed game is still popular as a backyard activity. In three handed games, when two of the players each have a ringer and a third player no ringer, the party without a ringer is out of the scoring and other scores according to conditions pertaining if only two were in the game. Otherwise, regular cancellation rules apply.” 5

Contributed to NHPA website by Duane Goodrich

These rules for backyard play have been reprinted from the website for this publication with the permission of the webmaster.

Popular Mechanics really knows how to build a beautiful horseshoe pit.  Take a peek:


Simple Rules of Ultimate (Frisbee®)

“A description of the sport of Ultimate is here, and the full rules are here. Below are 10 simple rules of Ultimate.

1. The Field — A rectangular shape with end zones at each end. A regulation field is 64 meters by 37 meters, with end zones 18 meters deep. Cones are generally used to mark the corners of the end zones.

2. Initiate Play — Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective end zone line. The defense throws (“pulls”) the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team.

3. Scoring — Each time the offense completes a pass into the defense’s end zone, the offense scores a point. The first team to 17 goals wins, with a time cap of 100 minutes, but this is often adapted at beginner levels of the sport.

4. Movement of the Disc — The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players can’t run with the disc, similar to netball. The person with the disc (“thrower”) has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower (“marker”) counts out the stall count.

5. Change of possession — When a pass is not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.

6. Substitutions — Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.

7. Non-contact — No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.

8. Fouls — When a player initiates contact on another player a foul occurs. When a foul disrupts possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the foul call, the play is redone.

9. Self-Refereeing — Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.

10. Spirit of the Game — Ultimate relies upon a Spirit of the Game that places the responsibility for fair play on every player. There are no referees. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.” 6

Rules used by permission of the webmaster.

Also check out the FRISBEE® website for the rules to other flying disc games such as Disc Golf and Freestyle:  And, while there click on the link for various novice Frisbee® games such as Discroquet, the Circle R Game, and Marathon:, which will give the kiddos plenty of Frisbee games to keep them entertained and active.  Print this PDF document from the website and take it with you.


Rules to JARTS also played with FLINGSOCKS or Mini-FLINGSOCKS

“Place the two circles on the ground about 35 feet apart. Stand behind the circle, holding the Jart by the handle in the palm of the hand. Toss at the other circle with UNDERHAND motion. Toss with high enough arc to let the Jart stand nearly upright when it strikes the ground.

Playing Turns:

Red plays first in first round. In each subsequent round the player scoring the most points plays first. Players toss Jarts in ALTERNATE turns.


In Jarts, you can score exactly 1-2-3-4 or 6 points in each round. A game consists of EXACTLY 21 points.

Point Scoring:

3 points for each Jart IN THE CIRCLE

1 point for the Jart nearest the circle

Scoring Possibilities:

1 point – nearest circle but none in circle

2 points – one Jart in circle less one point if opponent is nearest circle

3 points – one player with 2 Jarts in circle and opponent with one in circle or one Jart in circle and opponent is not near circle.

4 points – player with 1 Jart in circle and other Jart nearest

6 points – 2 Jarts in circle, opponent none.

Nearest means that a Jart is at least another Jart’s length away from the ring.

If your score for a round takes you over 21, your total score for that round is deducted instead of added. To win, you must score exactly 21 points.” 7

These rules used with the permission of the webmaster.

WARNING:  Lawn Darts the original version have been banned for manufacturing and resale in the United States.  The government of the United States has asked that all Darts be destroyed.  Injuries from Lawn Darts can result in serious injury or possibly even death.  I recommend a new modern updated version created by Fundex Toys and available from various outlets including Menards and

Flingsocks are another alternative that can be used to play the game of Jarts.  Head on over to Fun if you would like to purchase some flingsocks for your next outdoor party.


Popular Mechanics has a fantastic website showing the court layouts for each of these games:

For the rules to Bocce, Volleyball, Croquet, and almost every game imaginable go to:




“The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.”  Proverbs 20:29




About mrshlovesjesus

Hello, and welcome to my little cul-de-sac on the web. It is a delight to make your acquaintance. Before you read another word, please go grab yourself a beverage and something yummy to nibble on, and then come back, flop down in your comfy chair, and take your time reading the rest. OH MY…what is that little yumminess you have there? I’d love your recipe! Where do I start? I’m a fifty-something (shhhhhhhhh), still-doesn’t-know-what-she-wants-to-be-when-she-grows-up wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, niece, cousin, aunt, stranger, and friend, with a fiendish hankerin’ for spoiling people. I was born and raised in the fly-over country of Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains, which might explain my natural ability to fritter away hours dreaming up stuff to do (‘cause there was nothing to do except what we dreamed up to do). I’ve decided on the senior side of life, that my favorite things are cooking up something new in the kitchen, crafting something homemade for my walls, excavating treasures from the living words of God, tinkering a little bit in my yard and garden, and nurturing relationships with the precious people God has graciously placed in my life. I pray if you have stumbled here by some devine happenstance, that you will find a treasure and that God will get the glory. Please, by all means ransack through all my recent posts and try any of it out that you like. I’m sure it will all look cuter on you anyways. Someday I hope to hear all about it! The Father's great peace and blessings to you friend!

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